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Fortune and Men's Eyes [VHS]

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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(Dec 11, 1992)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Wendell Burton, Michael Greer, Zooey Hall, Danny Freedman, Larry Perkins
  • Directors: Harvey Hart, Jules Schwerin
  • Writers: John Herbert
  • Producers: Donald Ginsberg, Lester Persky, Lewis M. Allen
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: December 11, 1992
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302593352
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,688 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A young man in prison learns what self-preservation is all about, as he must become the sexual slave of a stronger inmate in order to survive.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This was a decent prison film that hooked the viewer & kept you interested in the plot. The characters were fun to watch & interesting. It appealed to the viewer on more of a psychological level. Overall, not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. Not over-the-top like many of today's prison films which heavily rely on blood & gore. This one has depth to its characters & I thought this was truly well done. It's based on a play by the same name. If you like good, offbeat prison pictures that examine its characters & maintains realism in the process, this is a good choice. It's a cult classic. I wonder when MGM will finally get on the ball & put this on DVD.
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Format: VHS Tape
Interesting but significantly watered-down version of the claustrophobic, searing stage play concerning the sexual liaisons between young men in a juvenile prison. While the film is essentially explotative in tone, and comes no where near depicting the brutality of the prison system, it raises a number of legitimate issues and questions re homosexuality in prison and sexual role-playing in gay society. No laurels for the script, but the performers are strong and the film itself well-made. Not wildly memorable, but worth a watch.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is a brutally realistic prison film. The very naïve Smitty, the main character played by Wendell Burton, goes to prison where he is totally unprepared for his harrowing experiences. I saw this movie in the theater when it was first released. I was in high school and it was a very disturbing and frightening film to sit through. Director Harvey Hart's film is brutal, harsh and very realistic. Its effect is very claustrophobic as Smitty grimly comes to the realization that there is no one to turn to and no way out of his horrific situation. This film is several years ahead of its time, engrossing but at times hard to watch.
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Format: VHS Tape
I had seen this onstage in New York and a few years later ran into Michael Greer in a bar in Greenwich Village. He was playing a video game. Since I was an actor, I introduced myself and complimented him on both his stage and screen work in "Fortune." He was completely different than the character, "Queenie." He was a normal-acting guy, who was personable and chatty. Greer said doing the play was more fun, but he was happy to have it on film. We had a nice chat.

I liked the movie. Firstly, Ronnie Dyson did a wonderful singing job on the tile song. Just beautiful. The movie moved well and was never boring. One kind of sits on the edge of one's seat expecting the next explosive scene. The movie was well-shot, especially in those tiny cells. Wendell Burton was properly boy next door, Danny Freedman was sympathetic as a passed-around-for-sex gay boy and Zooey Hall played his part well, but I wasn't convinced with that haircut.

The other actors, especially Lázaro Pérez as "Catso" and and Larry Perkins as "Screwdriver" were very convincing. Michael Greer was completely outrageous as "Queenie" and all but stole the movie.

The gang rape of one young man sent chills down my spine, but when "Smitty" (Burton) was raped, it was graphic, but tastefully filmed. I own the VHS, but would love to have this and "Boys In The Band" on DVD.

I enjoyed it.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie is based on a legendary 1967 Canadian play which saw the light three years before the Stonewall Riots (and two before the queer comedy "The Boys in the Band"). Pity that Dustin Hoffman and (Angelina Jolie's dad) John Voight didn't play Rocky and Smitty, in fact Dustin loved the play and did play Rocky in an Actor's Studio workshop production but had to leave the cast before public performances. In 1969 out came the movie "Midnight Cowboy", incidentally. Instead, in this film we have Rocky played by Zooey Hall, who, most unfortunately, wears an outrageous period/trendy campy hairstyle which spoils the intended sordid prison mood. Apart from the lamentable lacquer bungle, the Rocky he plays is not straightforward macho/macho (as Queenie does call him a faggot, and a hustler), which helps him convey his reversal of character from domineering/master sodomizing to meek slave, slapped to humiliation, then... suicide. Wendell Burton as Smitty, alas, doesn't convey his essential transformation at the end (from sexual slave to pricky master), although Danny Freedman as the intellectual, sensitive Mona is believable and moving. His last line "I love you, Smitty", is conveyed subtly and briskly but nevertheless has a moving, long-lasting impact.

In France the play was called "Hommes" and was very successful, in a period marked with the 1968 Paris riots. Jean Genet went to the premiere. Would he have liked it? Well... the movie is not nearly as beautiful and poetic as his own "Un Chant D'Amour", yet, as the sole film version of John Herbert's landmark gay-themed play, it deserves better fate today than just this VHS format. DVD now please!!!! It might make an interesting (digital) coupling with another neglected rarity: "Who Killed Teddy Bear", starring Sal Mineo in outrageous homoerotic style. Sal incidentally, produced a Los Angeles staging of Fortune in 1971... starring young (Miami Vice) Don Johnson as Smitty. So there...
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A 1971 prison story which had censors suppressing many aspects, but the story still stayed in my memory as one of the first movies of this type which I saw as a pre-teen. Wendell Burton, Zooey Hall and the amazing Michael Greer provide a well-rounded representation of the era… Slightly over the top, but still very true to reality… See the HBO series "Oz" and you will realize this movie was quite close in values that were actually in prisons at the time. Other postings will give you the plot, but we must admit our prison system still leaves a lot to be desired.
I believe that this film and the "Oz" series draw attention to this terrible situation and unfortunately do not draw many resolutions. Although there are a number of significant scenes which we can appreciate… Michael Greer is who most of us are waiting for with his catty, clever observations and vicious repartee... Our loss that this talented artist was blacklisted for his sexual orientation as he was one of the first major film stars to be openly gay… Much to his disadvantage as far as making many films.
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